Srinagar: The security establishment in Kashmir believes a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Yaseen Yatoo, managed to escape from the besieged Chadoora area of central Kashmir on Tuesday.
According to a senior official in the army, there was an intelligence input about the presence of two to three militants, including Yatoo, in the area. “We have been tracing Yatoo and there was specific information about the presence of tbe militant commander in the area,” the official said.
The army believes that Yatoo managed to escape from the encounter site but one of his close aides, Tawseef Ahmad, a resident of Kulgam, was killed.
The two militants, according to sources, were mostly active in the south Kaahmir districts of Kulgam and Pulwama. The 40-year-old Yatoo is a native of Nagam village of Chadoora and had joined militancy soon after he left his home for the first time in 1996.
Yatoo, who had also joined pro-freedom party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) before he went into militant ranks, is believed to one of the main recruiters for the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Yatoo also featured in one of the Hizb’s videos earlier this year in which he dissuaded people from taking part in Republic Day celebrations and also asked them to avoid participating in programmes sponsored by Indian Army under operation Sadbhavana.
The slain militant Tawseef Ahmad is also believed by the security agencies to be involved in a recent attack on a security official.
According to another security official, Tawseef was among the militants who barged into the house of state prisons department official Abdul Samad and allegedly abducted his son and another relative.
The official’s son and his relative were later released in Doulatpora area of Chadoora. The official’s car, though, was set ablaze near Newa road.